The Incipient Image
Gallery 2 presents The Incipient Image, curated by Stephen Maine and will include recent work by Samuel T. Adams, Elizabeth Cooper, Sharon Lawless, Dona Nelson, Mark L. Power, and Steel Stillman. “I think of the work of these artists as a portal to polymorphous visual experience rather than a vehicle of a fixed and particular significance -- which, in itself constitutes a different order of meaning, one that is held in abeyance, probably permanentlyviewer relies on intuition rather than cognitive processing in dealing with the works, which possess not embedded meanings that need to be decoded, but multiple meanings as corollary facts of their existence. For these artists, the viewer’s bewilderment is a measure of their success, finding greater pleasure in the creeping twilight of ambiguity than in clarity’s shadowless
Relinquishing control over her painting’s narrative content, Dona Nelson allows materiality its full force to trigger a range of associations. The compositional conventions of Elizabeth Cooper’s paintings allude to genre subjects—portrait, still life, landscape—but their encrusted surfaces defy the viewer to find a shred of description. Samuel T. Adams addresses legibility itself in paintings that employ the syntax of expressive figuration but are rendered in iconographical gibberish.
In his drawings, Mark L. Power reiterates a select few incongruous ideograms as if stockpiling them for future experiments, preserving them for posterity or setting them aside for a rainy day. Sharon Lawless grafts snippets and chunks of pre-existing imagery of which the original meaning is eclipsed in the service of a graphical improvisation. Though they are suffused with a media-like cool, Steel Stillman’s photographs, into which drawing is strategically placed, have more to do with the fictive spaces of novels and film than with the declarative space of pop culture.